BOULDER, Colorado (Ticker) -- Chris Brown did not finish, but Colorado will make it all the way to Houston for the Big 12 Conference championship game.
Bobby Purify ran for 174 yards and a touchdown and Robert Hodge broke a fourth-quarter tie with a six-yard strike to Derek McCoy as the 18th-ranked Buffaloes clinched the North Division title with a 41-27 win over Iowa State.
Colorado (8-3, 6-1 Big 12 North) clinched its second straight division crown and will represent the North on December 7 at Reliant Stadium in Houston. The Buffaloes were able make it there there despite playing a chunk of the second half without Brown, the nation's leading rusher who was forced to leave in the third quarter with a bruised sternum.
"It's obviously huge for this team considering everything that we've been through to be in position to play for the championship," Colorado coach Gary Barnett said. "We staggered a bit but we were able to come back."
Brown make a major contribution before departing, carrying 25 times for 129 yards, including a five-yard touchdown run in the second quarter that helped Colorado win for the seventh time in eight games.
Brown recorded his eighth straight 100-yard game and Purify topped the century mark for the second game in a row.
"Chris Brown is outstanding. He's an excellent back, as is Purify," Iowa State coach Dan McCarney said. "I don't see many teams in the country that Purify couldn't play or start for."
Iowa State (7-5, 4-4), completing a brutal stretch of schedule that saw it drop out of the national rankings, put a scare into the Buffaloes after being routed by Kansas State, 58-7 last week.
"Colorado's rushing game in the fourth quarter was the difference," McCarney said. "It was anybody's game in the fourth quarter."
The Cyclones took a 20-17 lead on a one-yard run by Joe Woodley in the third quarter.
Purify had a 25-yard run to set up a 40-yard field goal by Patrick Brougham that tied it at 20-20 after three quarters.
That set the stage for Hodge, who completed a pair of third-down passes to Purify for first downs before finding McCoy in the corner of the end zone with 10:20 left to put the Buffaloes up for good at 27-20.
Safety Medford Moorer made it a two-touchdown game when he recovered a fumble by Seneca Wallace and raced 71 yards for a touchdown with 5:12 left.
"I saw him fumble the snap," Moorer said. "It came out kind of high and everyone was scrambling for the ball. I got it, picked it up and ran it back."
Wallace cut the lead to 34-27 with a six-yard run with 3:56 left before Purify capped the scoring with a five-yard run two minutes later.
Wallace carried 15 times for 102 yards and a score. He also completed 24-of-35 passes for 265 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown pass to Lance Young in the second quarter.
The Cyclones lost for the fourth time in five games, with the first three defeats coming at Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas State.
Hodge completed 17-of-28 passes for 187 yards and two scores. His other TD pass was an eight-yarder to D.J. Hackett early in the second quarter that gave Colorado a 10-7 lead.
Colorado concludes its regular season on Thanksgiving weekend against Nebraska.
"I am not going to feel like a North Division champ until we beat Nebraska," safety Marwan Hage said. "It won't feel like a complete season until we beat Nebraska."